Sarawakian graves hit by tomb raiders

Sarawakian graves hit by tomb raiders

MIRI: At least five graves at the Roman Catholic cemetery in Riam here were desecrated by tomb raiders in search of valuables buried with the deceased recently.

Parish council member Stephen Ong told The Borneo Post that he rushed to the cemetery upon learning of the incident.

“Some contractors who were in charge of concrete works at the cemetery for the parish found the graves have been desecrated again and they immediately informed us about this.

“This was the third such incidents at the cemetery, with the previous one in May this year and the first, last year,” he said when met at the cemetery yesterday.

A look around the cemetery found three concrete and five tiled graves had been destroyed and ransacked by the thieves, with a hammer – believed to have been used by the perpetrators – found nearby.

Ong, who had lodged a police report of the latest incident as well as the earlier two, said he believed there are many tomb-raiding groups in Miri despite police arrests of several members.

To a question, he said they have yet to ascertain what belongings were stolen from the desecrated graves in this latest incident.

“I did ask a church member to inform the families of the deceased to identify the graves by announcing their names in church every Sunday, starting last week.

“Some family members have been informed but some of them could not be reached as the graves have been at the cemetery for a long time, probably around 20 to 30 years, with names of the deceased no longer visible.

“Those who were informed have not told us about any losses.” He said they are now working on discouraging the placing of valuables inside the graves, and will increase monitoring at the cemetery to ensure such incident does not recur.

He also thanked the contractors for offering to help repair the desecrated graves, and urged families with their loved ones buried at the cemetery to get in touch with him at 017-8789730 should they have any questions. – The Borneo Post